Rescued from their own devices

by Jonah

I was vacuuming the car today (I think I’ll let Berck do that from now on, since he’ll have more free time). I pull the car over to the bottom of the stairs of our apartment where, with the extension cord, I can reach both sides of it with the vacuum. I try to do the opposite side as quickly as possible so I’m not blocking the entrance to our parking lot.

As I was finishing up on that side, I saw a couple of very excited dogs come down the hill opposite our apartment. One was a Basset Hound and the other a medium-sized white dog with black splotches and long hair. They both had collars and tags and were obviously on an illicit adventure. I briefly considered going over and trying to catch them, but my experience with that sort of thing is that the dogs run away from you, leaving you out of breath and themselves no better off. Also, I wasn’t sure how I would catch two dogs. I watched as they approached the sidewalk and was happy to see one of the SUV’s coming down the road slow as it passed them, in case they decided to dash out into the road. The Basset Hound looked up at the SUV, and I contented myself that the dogs seemed to know that the road wasn’t some place that they should hurtle into.

I went back to putting the various parts of the vacuum back together and then heard a yelp. I looked up to see another SUV screeching to a stop and the white dog crawling out from under the side of it. Okay, so maybe they weren’t so savvy after all. A woman and a boy emerged from the SUV and started chasing the dogs toward the daycare center next door. Then the dogs came over into my parking lot and into the grassy area between the two apartment buildings. I knew for a fact that they could only get out of the grassy square the way they came in, so I went over to the corner where I knew they’d be trying to run out as the woman and boy chased them. Sure enough, the Basset Hound rounded the corner, caught sight of me in his bloodshot eyes, and put down his head a little lower than it already was and pumped his short legs into high gear. I figured I’d have a hard time stopping his mass, so I let him go by and waited for the white dog. The white dog was surprised to see me there and hesitated, which is all the time I needed. I grabbed its collar and had a catch. The Basset Hound, apparently not wanting to leave his buddy behind, let the woman and boy catch him.

We reconnoitered in the middle of the parking lot. No, these were not my dogs. The woman introduced herself and said that the dogs had been chasing a rabbit across the road. I could believe it, because that vacant area where the hill is, is full of rabbits. I spun the white dog’s collar around until I found a tag that said, “SIDNEY” and H and C phone numbers. I reached into my pocket with my left hand and called the H number while holding onto Sidney’s collar with the other. A girl answered the phone and said she’d call her parents and have them pick them up right away and she was sooo sorry. Sidney had a bit of broken or chewed cord attached to his collar. Despite having just been run over by an SUV, Sidney did not have any injuries we could find.

The dogs licked each other and us and obviously loved people. We waited a while and then realized that Sidney also had his address on his tag, Bill Valley Drive, a couple of streets over. The woman’s husband was waiting impatiently in the SUV and suggested they just deliver the dogs to the address. I called back, and the girl said her dad was almost there. The woman was eager to get lunch home to her parents who had just moved in with them (her mom has the beginnings of Alzheimers, she said), so she left the boy holding onto the Basset Hound and told him to start walking home if the owner came. We moved closer to the street so anyone driving by could easily see the dogs.

Right about then, a guy in another SUV drove up. The dogs went crazy, and it was obvious they knew this car and wanted to see the person inside it very much. A portly guy with a surfer hair cut got out and apologized to us. “We have a regular fence, an electric fence, and this one was tied up…did you chew through this, or did it break? I don’t know how they got out. Maybe the electric fence went out.” The dogs hopped up into the back of the SUV (the Basset with a little help), and then the driver thanked us and drove off. The boy and I told each other goodbye and went our separate ways.

And I finally got the car and vacuum out of the parking lot entrance.

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